Two Latinas at forefront of historic science discovery

Two Latinas are at the top of the scientific team behind this huge announcement involving one of the biggest discoveries in science, the detection of gravitational waves from the collision of two black holes that confirms many of Albert Einstein’s theories about the universe a century ago.

At the forefront of this exciting discovery are Gabriela González and France A. Córdova. Both women agree there’s a dearth of women in science and more has to be done to change this

“This is the first of many discoveries,” said Dr. González in an interview with NBC Latino. “Now that we know for a fact that these black hole binary systems are out there, and that we know we have detectors that work right now, these detectors are going to get better. Of course we will find more proof.”

Gabriela González y/and France A. Córdova
Gabriela González y/and France A. Córdova

Dr. Gabriela Gonzalez, 50, was born and raised in Córdoba, Argentina. She received her Master of Science from the University of Córdoba and got her Ph. D. from Syracuse University. She is a professor of physics and astronomy, and the first woman to receive tenure at the Louisiana State University physics department in 2001, and one of the leaders of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory (LIGO).

For years, this worldwide group has been studying black holes and whether they could prove how they impact time and space.

“Science is so interesting. Without more women in science, we’re missing out,” Gonzalez said.

France A. Córdova is the director of the National Science Foundation, she born in Paris, France, and her father is a Mexican-American. She received her bachelor’s degree from Stanford and a Ph.D. from California Institute of Technology. She was Hola! 506 SCIENCE 2the first Latina chancellor of the University of California, Riverside from 2002 to 2007.

“The thing that Dr. Gonzalez and I share is a passion for science. We’re both driven by our curiosity to understand the universe,” Cordova told. “That’s a big goal for the National Science Foundation. Hopefully this discovery will change that. Like the landing on the moon, this can serve an inspiration. Bringing more diversity to science simply makes science better. We see more richness of ideas, more interesting questions raised and maybe new directions in science,” she adds.

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